Following several previous attempts to fix the school funding formula, State Senators Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) and Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) are supporting a more fair and equitable school funding plan that avoids picking "winners and losers."
Senate Bill 1124, Senate Floor Amendment 3, is a Republican compromise proposal to fix Illinois' nearly 20 year-old school funding formula, in order to more equitably fund schools across the state.
“This compromise represents a unique opportunity to give our Southern Illinois school districts the resources they need to educate our children,” Schimpf said.
“The old funding formula leaves a large amount of my district’s schools on the ‘short end’ when it comes to equitable funds. It is imperative that we put all of the state’s schools on a level footing,” Fowler said.
SB 1124's newest funding formula is supported by the latest dataset from the Illinois State Board of Education. A key feature of this proposal is that, unlike previous measures—including Senate Bill 1, there would be fewer dollars of the top that are immediately distributed to the Chicago Public School system, which continues to struggle after years of fiscal mismanagement.
In fact, Senate Bill 1124 SFA3 would drive more funding to low-income students across the state’s 852 school districts than previous measures, including Senate Bill 1. The ISBE analysis shows Senate Bill 1124 provides every single school district with more evidence-based tier funding than Senate Bill 1. When including both base funding and tier funding, every downstate and suburban school district would receive more funding through Senate Bill 1124 than under Senate Bill 1.
The Governor has already indicated that he would veto Senate Bill 1, and voicing his support for SB 1124 as the next best set of negotiated school funding terms—with much of the proposal having been agreed to by both sides of the political aisle. Senator Schimpf said he hopes that SB 1124 will be taken up during the current remaining days of Special Session.
The updated funding formula for Senator Fowler's 59th Senate District can be found at www.senatorfowler.com. The funding information for Senator Schimpf's 58th District can be found at www.senatorschimpf.com.
Both Fowler and Schimpf represent the all or portions of nearly 19 counties that are the southern third of Illinois. From a geographic area that stretches from across the Gateway Arch in Downtown St. Louis, to Hamilton County and as far south as Cairo and Metropolis and all points in-between, school funding formulas vary wildly.